At the recent Punk Rock Factory show at Brighton’s Concorde 2 venue, an impromptu discussion at the merch desk led to MetalTalk’s Adrian Stonley having a chat with Adam And The Metal Hawks. This was an opportunity to sound them out about the ongoing tour and their recently released album Hurry Up And Wait, which they are currently promoting.
Adam Ezegelian says the UK tour has been absolutely amazing so far. “It’s been a great experience,” he says. “We’ve done a couple of tours here, small runs. But this is our first full-fledged tour in the UK. It gives us the chance to meet all these amazing fans who comment on our videos, saying, ‘We’re from the UK. Come to the UK, please.’ Now we’re finally here. It’s great being able to put a face to the name online. It’s been great.”
As a band, Adam And The Metal Hawks made their name online rather than in the live environment. This was down to lockdown as they had no other alternative. It was the best way to get themselves and their music out there. How do they think it has benefited them?
“It’s gotten us this far,” Adam says. “We are always trying to marry those two. It’s a necessity in this landscape to have a social media presence, so we’re lucky to have that part out of the way. Now, we’re trying to bring our original rock music to the masses. We’ve just put out a new album this year called Hurry Up And Wait, and we’re really excited to now just hit the ground running and do a bunch of shows that will promote the album and get the album out to our fans.”
Adam auditioned for American Idol back in 2015, however the new album is not just about one man and his backing group. The Metal Hawks are a head’s down, finely tuned rock ‘n’ roll machine. Each part is as important to the overall sound as any other.
“I would say this album has something for everyone,” guitarist Johnny Barry says. “Every song sounds like us, but a little different in its own little way. We have the Heavy Metal borderline rock songs, and then there are some acoustic ballads in there, and every now and then, a little bluesy stuff. So there’s definitely a little something for everyone in this record.”
When listening to the band live, then the feeling is that they grew up on classic rock bands such as Aerosmith. “Yeah, absolutely,” the band laughs. “We like to wear our influences on our sleeve,” Adam says. “We are very proud to say that we love that classic rock genre. We’re trying to bring that back to a younger generation that hasn’t been exposed to it, or their parents are trying to get them to listen to it. We are big Van Halen fans, Aerosmith, AC/DC, Twisted Sister. Those classic rock bands and that music is in our blood. We want to make sure that we’re honouring that as well in our own original music.”
In the UK, there is a growing classic rock scene amongst new bands. Is there a similar call in the States, or are they going to be the trailblazers? “You know, we could pave the way for that sort of thing,” Adam says. “Our scene back home is very hit and miss. There is a lot of Metalcore and hip-hop style of music. You don’t see a lot of younger classic rock, hard rock bands that are breaking out of our scene, particularly in New York.
“So, I would say it’s definitely more the UK and European circuit that is driving it. You have bands such as Måneskin that are just drawing it in [the crowds and attention] right now. It would be really great to see that sort of music taking to the forefront of US popular culture right now. It would be nice to see that.”
Adam And The Metal Hawks played a few covers tonight. I wonder, as they have a new album, why they did not do more of their own songs. Sell yourself, I say. The new songs stand up. “Well, you know, we’re jumping on Punk Rock Factory’s tour,” Adam says. “They are great guys, and a lot of their set are covers. They have a really unique set and fan base that we’re happy to jump in front of.
“I think it doesn’t hurt to pay tribute, and we do have a lot of overlap online where we do our social media videos. They are obviously covers of classic rock songs that we love and we know that people love. So, we want to mix the two in our set as well. To show this is where we came from, and this is where we’re going and kinda just marry the two together.”
“It’s pretty much been on my set already,” Johnny says, “even before we blew up on social media during lockdown. It’s a case of giving the people a few songs that they would know, cover-wise, and then when we play our original music, they can then compare your stuff to the old stuff, and if people like it, then that’s great. That’s all it is. It’s about bringing people in.”
“Tonight, we were feeling some really good energy,” Adam says. “If we say play a Queen song, everyone knows it, and they can get into it. That brings such great energy into the room. That’s something that we like to do: transition a bit in between our songs. That helps to keep that energy up.
“It’s been really great, and we can’t wait for more. Like Twisted Sister, you gotta pay your dues a little bit.”
As fans of Twister Sister and coming from New York, does the band feel they are following in their footsteps? “Oh, absolutely,” Adam says. “We’re honoured.”
“I literally used to dress up like Dee Snider when I was nine years old,” Johnny says, “so to be able to follow in the like of Twisted Sisters’ footsteps, it’s a coming round in a big full circle moment for me.”
The band have plans for the future, as you would expect. “We’re working on some stuff for the holiday season [Christmas],” Adam says, “and of course pushing the new album Hurry Up And Wait. It’s out now on all platforms. You can stream it anywhere, and of course, you can order physical copies. We have signed copies from our website.
“We want to continue to spread the word that rock is still alive and well. We’re just trying to bring rock back to the top in the US and possibly across the world.”
Midway through the tour at the moment, do they have further plans to come back to the UK and do their own dates? “I hope so,” Adam says. “Punk Rock Factory have already announced their dates for next year, and if we could get on some of those dates, it would be absolutely awesome.
“They’re great guys, and we’ve absolutely gelled. We all get along great, so the more stuff that we can do with Punk Rock Factory, the better. But let’s see what happens.”
At that point, the venue security closed us down.